An elderly woman is doing her best to recover after police say she was scammed out of nearly $200,000. Fox 13 reports that a 71-year-old woman identified as Catherine Short had the best intentions when she fell in love with a man she’d met online — a man she hadn’t met yet.
The victim, according to reports, thought she’d found love on the dating website ChristianMingle. The man she met said he was a widower looking for a loving relationship again. But the suspect had anything but godly intentions.
According to Fox 13, the unknown man started off by simply asking for expensive electronics to be sent to his friends in Africa.
At first, the Huffington Post says the man told Short the electronics were for underprivileged kids. He then asked her for larger and larger sums, promising her a ring with her name spelled out in diamonds and a big wedding, the report continued.
Some may say love is blind, because Short got sucked into the nightmare rather rapidly. Before long she told the news station she had sold her house in Largo and sent every single penny she ever made to the mystery man. This guy had all kinds of stories, but the one that Short says struck her heart the most was when he said he had a hospital bill in Panama and he told her he couldn’t leave to come back to the United States until it was paid.
It’s not clear when Short finally realized this relationship was no match made in heaven.
The worst part about this case? The suspect has yet to be identified. Investigators say it’s possible they may never know who the mystery lover is, because scammers are hard to identify in these sorts of Internet hoaxes. Short wants others to learn from her mistakes, saying, “I am a trusting person and it takes a lot for me to see that someone could hurt somebody at my age.”
Sgt. John Spoor told Fox 13, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Do your diligence, contact the sheriff’s office. Speak with your family members and use all the resources you can to prevent this from happening.”
Read more: Huffington Post
Read more: Fox 13